Lizard Walk Offers Guided Tour of Arizona 'Herps'

Lizard Walk Offers Guided Tour of Arizona 'Herps'

By University Communications
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"Wild Man Phil" Rakoci and friend.
"Wild Man Phil" Rakoci and friend.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, located near the historic copper-mining town of Superior, Ariz., offers the quirky and popular “Learn Your Lizards” guided walking tour this Saturday.

Casa Grande ecologist and reptile enthusiast "Wild Man Phil" Rakoci is the special guest tour guide for the tour, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the visitor center, and is included with regular daily admission of $7.50 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. These tours are especially popular with young people, so bring the kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.

A CatCard or another form of UA identification will save $1 for you and all your guests.

The final two lizard walks this year are on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9:30 a.m. and Saturday, Sept. 13, at 8:30 a.m.

Hundreds of Arizonans have attended these popular walks. Recent outings were rewarded with views of a Gila Monster, Collared Lizard, beautiful turquoise-flecked Side-blotched Lizards and numerous Western Whiptails. All are considered "herps," which is a term used for reptiles and amphibians.

Dozens of various species of reptiles can be seen scurrying across the main trail at the arboretum. Many of them are more accustomed to people walking by than are their cousins found outside in the desert.

September mornings can still be hot so sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a bottle of water are advisable. Carry along binoculars for a close-up view of reptilian colors, and a field guide to reptiles if you own one.

In addition to the lizards, visitors might even see a western diamondback rattlesnake basking quietly in the shade near the Boojum trees in the Arboretum's Cactus Garden. Reptiles around the arboretum trails are more easily observed than along desert paths where their survival depends on being wary and furtive.

Fore more information, or to see images of native Arizona reptiles, go to http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/events/lizardwalk.

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